Danielle Kelly recently signed a contract with ONE FC and she has now had her official debut for the promotion scheduled for March 26th. For her first fight with the promotion she’ll be sticking to what she knows and instead of making the transition to MMA that fans have been waiting for, she’ll be competing under a submission grappling ruleset. It’s clear that she still has her eyes set on a move to MMA in the future however, as Kelly is continuing her recent trend of competing against veteran MMA fighters.
She recently managed to win a tough match against former UFC Strawweight world champion Carla Esparza, although the conclusion was less than satisfying for fans watching. Now Kelly will be facing an even more experienced fighter in Mei Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi has had almost forty professional MMA fights throughout her career and fifteen shoot boxing fights to go along with it. Although she is known as much more of a striker than a grappler, Yamaguchi is hardly a neophyte and has even competed in submission grappling twice in the past as well.
Yamaguchi’s MMA career started all the way back in 2007 and she has fought almost exclusively in Asia, although she is still widely known as one of the most impressive female fighters of her generation. She reached the height of her career fighting for ONE FC, where she has challenged Angela Lee for the Atomweight world title on two separate occasions. Although she dropped a decision both times, she has still given a good account of herself and beaten many women below that level. She represents a decent challenge for Kelly while also allowing her to make a name for herself in front of ONE FC fans pretty much immediately if she wins.
Danielle Kelly announced the news of her professional grappling debut for ONE FC in a post to her official Instagram account: